4 rewarding career paths that don’t require a degree

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We’re often told from a young age that the best way to secure a well-paid and stable job is to study hard at school, go to university and graduate with a degree. While this might be true for many industries such as Medicine or Architecture, there are several career paths you can take that don’t involve getting a university degree.

Setting aside that it can often come with a side helping of debt, studying at university isn’t for everyone and that’s absolutely fine. In fact, choosing an alternative path other than university might work out better for you in the long-term. So, here are 4 careers that you can get into without having a degree.


Accountancy is one of those sectors that many people automatically assume you need a university degree to get into, but they’re wrong. In fact, there are very few roles within this industry that you need a specific degree for.

In an entry-level role such as an Accounts Assistant, you’ll learn the skills and knowledge that you need to build upon for more senior positions. The qualifications for this role are a National 5 in Maths, an interest in the industry and a willingness to work hard. To give yourself an edge over other applicants, you might want to consider studying a beginner’s level professional qualification with an Accountancy body such as AAT. Their Foundation Certificate gives you a great introduction to the skills and knowledge you’ll need to shine.

Alternatively, you could undertake an apprenticeship in Accounting which means you can study towards a formal qualification whilst getting hands-on work experience that you’ll receive a salary for. You can even go on to study a degree apprenticeship once you reach a certain level of experience so you can still get a degree if you want to but you’ll technically have been paid to study for it!

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You’ll find that most Sales jobs don’t require a degree, it’s your passion and ability to meet targets is that’s important. Basic salaries for entry-level Sales roles can start out low, but if you’re willing to work hard to meet or exceed your targets, you’ll find that the commission you earn can be very rewarding.

This kind of role isn’t for everyone but don’t be put off if you tend to have a more introverted personality. Yes, much of the job involves talking to existing or potential customers but the salespeople who do best are those that inspire confidence and trust rather than those who talk the loudest.

Handsome male client signing document on a meeting with real estate agent.

Project Management

While you can study this as a degree, you’ll often find that employers are looking for certain skills and professional qualities in their Project Managers that can be acquired without going to university.

A good Project Manager needs a wide range of skills in their arsenal, with time management and good communication skills right at the top of the list. You’ll also need strong leadership skills including the ability to motivate people and the knowledge of when and how to delegate tasks.

You don’t necessarily need any specific qualifications for these roles but if you’re keen to study, you can find beginner-level courses by APM or PRINCE2 that will give you a good understanding of working as a PM.

You can also gain experience of these skills by volunteering to help run projects or events for charities or local community groups.

Group of students listening attentively to their friend presenting her project

Public Transport Operator

Transport operators such as Train or Bus Drivers don’t require a degree and they are actually pretty stable and well-paid careers.  You might think that driving seems like a relatively straightforward job, but it’s more complicated than you might realise.

Driving a bus or train carries a huge responsibility for the safety of your passengers and it can be mentally exhausting to keep up your concentration during long shifts. That said, it’s a very rewarding career that actually helps people – if all our buses and trains went out of service, the country would grind to a halt and leave many people stuck without a means of transport.

It also has excellent benefits. Train drivers can earn up to as much as £50,000 a year after passing their probationary period. Plus, you’ll also receive a great pension and plenty of opportunities for training and development.


Looking to start your job search? You can find the latest vacancies at jobs24.com.

Posted on July 24, 2020